Technology

Hey Teachers, Leave Them Kids Alone! And Get to Class On Time Already or You Won't Get Your Pudding.

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In the Turnabout is Fair Play department, students at Britain's Manchester Metropolitan University have been accused of "snooping" on faculty by reporting late start times of classes via text messages.

A spokesman for the University and College Union told the publication [The Times Higher]: "The relationship between lecturer and student is key to higher education, and schemes that encourage either to spy on the other, however well intentioned, undermine that bond."

Education, along with health care, are total laggards in the service-industry revolution that is fundamentally altering traditional power relationships by giving more say to the customer/consumer (that health care and education are chiefly funded by the public sector or private third-party payers is no coincidence). With attitudes like the one expressed above, good luck joining the 20th century, pal, let alone the 21st, or whatever we're in now.

More here.

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  1. Who wrote this? There is no name posted. OMG it was the Reason ghost!!!

  2. Nick Gillespie | May 4, 2009, 7:50am

    OMG! Nick is the Reason ghost!

    The jacket is all of him that remains on the mortal plain. “Don’t go into the light Nicky-Ann!”

  3. G-g-g-g-g-g-ghosts?!?

    Zoiks!

  4. I really fail to see how it can be possible that seeing something happen in plain sight and noting and remembering it somehow constitutes “snooping”.

  5. Imagine the horror if some publication began compiling student evaluations of teachers and [shiver] PUBLISHED them!

  6. HEB,

    I’d love to see the one I laid down on this professor at WKU in print. It included an analysis of her rate of pay and raises relative to the other people in her department and other professors with her seniority in other departments. (Don’t fuck with students that work in the library’s reference department.) And I outlined three separate incidents of her sheer incompetence and general assholery. It was so long, I knew I wouldn’t have time to write it all out. I typed it up, printed it out, cut it to size and pasted it onto the form with a glue stick. And I still had room at the bottom to write down the violations of policy she made right before and while we were filling the evaluation out.

    A feeble attack considering tenure, but it had been building all semester. But I made sure everyone in the class knew she made only 60% of the salary of women professors in comparable departments and seniority.

  7. SugarFree,

    Why would her salary relative to other professors in the department be relevant? Especially if it was lower?

    I don’t get it.

  8. But I made sure everyone in the class knew she made only 60% of the salary of women professors in comparable departments and seniority.

    You attacked an oppressed woman? SHAME!

    Better hope your pals at Femifisting don’t catch a whif of this.

  9. Fluffy,

    WKU’s raise system is predicated on student evaluations. I was making the point that she must have been given consistently poor student evaluations for years and was granted tenure anyway. (The tenure files aren’t public like salary info, so I had to go to circumstantial evidence.) And the way the degree was set up, almost everyone in the department had to take her class. It was a requirement and very few other professors taught it.

    I’m sure that a feedback loop had been created, she gets bad evaluations, doesn’t get a raise, is a shit to her students, ad infinitum. But that’s no reason for the department to either employ her forever or funnel everyone getting an English degree at WKU through her.

    I’ve had a lot of “bad’ professors–some incompetent, some lazy, some just plain burned out–but I had never had one that went out of their way to actively drive students from class, fail people on quiz who gave the same answer as people who passed (and make it difficult to determine that on purpose), and was just an outright asshole whenever they could be. She wasn’t the only professor to put me off tenure, but she is the best example against it I ever encountered.

  10. SugarFree,

    Why are you afraid of powerful women?

  11. Your first clue you had shitty faculty should have been the fact you were at WKU.

  12. I’ve always thought student evaluations were handled confidentially–the shreder can’t read.

  13. I had a problem with a physics prof who always started class late (usually at least 10 mins) and still went for his full 50 minutes. Normally, not a big deal, but half the class had another class across campus right after it – that we were running late too. So, one day, we just all (half the class that is) got up and left at “normal” end of class time. The prof got pissed off, but he started class on time from that point on.

  14. Well, duh. But I had some good professors down there. I was just finishing my degree down there anyway after I moved when my wife found a job at BGPL.

  15. I once had a really good prof who was visiting from WKU. Stunned me.

  16. Stunned me.

    Tazer or gun?

  17. HEB,

    Californium.

    It was a radiation detection lab.

    We had one spur of the moment lab that was basically “What the fuck is in the building water supply?”

    He was walking by the water fountain with a detector on and it went off. So we set up equipment and analyzed the water in the fountain. Im not sure we ever figured out exactly WHAT was in it, but it was amusing.

  18. robc,

    Betcha it was a high concentration of DHMO.

  19. Pretty much all my HS teachers were on time (sadly so). I had one that was late occasionally.

    This was not true at my college. However, our student evaluations were scored and both positive and negative comments put online on a student-run site. It was really, really, helpful for figuring out which classes to take, or which sections to go for. The teachers all seemed to like the system too, although I only know of one really bad one (I am sure there were a few others in other depts I didn’t take classes in, but only one professor I ever read on got consistently horrible marks and comments. And I took his class anyway, go figure).

  20. Being a member of the United Auto Workers is a lot like having tenure.

    *sits back, waits*

  21. P Brooks,

    Snerk. I’d actually say that they are exactly analogous.

  22. “The relationship between lecturer and student is key to higher education, and schemes that encourage either to spy on the other, however well intentioned, undermine that bond.”

    I thought the key to higher education was, you know, education. Guess I was wrong.

    (Disclosure: I am a university lecturer; nontenured, however.)

  23. P Brooks, SugarFree,

    Operation Worker Comfort will fix everything for those UAWs and bring Great Justice to the Auto Industry.

  24. I really fail to see how it can be possible that seeing something happen in plain sight and noting and remembering it somehow constitutes “snooping”.

    See “cops, videotaping of” for further info.

  25. The relationship between lecturer and student is key to higher education

    The relationship between firearms instructor and student is key to a lot of things. But I don’t have to guess how long I would have students in my privately-run business if I was consistently late for class.

  26. Meh, tenure is shit. Not necessarily even because it allows people to get away with being mediocre or worse, but because it facilitates the incestuous nature of academia and the “ivory tower” concept.

    Academics, particularly in fields like medicine, engineering, and science, ought to be recycled into the workforce to ensure that they aren’t merely sharing theoretical knowledge, but real practical experience. Moreover, professionals in the field ought to similarly be recycled back into academia to make sure they don’t fall behind on advances in theory and shared knowledge in the field.

    Generally speaking, work experience should be required before even attempting to get a master’s, and a second round of work experience should be acquired before going back for a doctorate. It’s good for students, as their coursework will be skewed towards what is truly relevant for the industry and thus of more vocational relevance, and it’s good for academia, to prevent research from devolving into a useless echo chamber.

  27. what the hell does this have to do with teachers hittin students.

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